REPRESENTING ESTATE FIDUCIARIES
I represent executors and administrators in the fulfillment of their duties in administering the estates of deceased persons. The objective in this is to carry out the wishes of the decedent and the requirements of law. If you are an executor or administrator, if you do not do so properly, you can be personally liable to creditors, taxing authorities or beneficiaries. As executor or administrator, you can choose the attorney you wish to represent you; you are not required to hire the drafter of the will to be your attorney as executor.
If there is a will, I
- Examine and analyze it and any related trust document
- Bring the proceeding for its admission to probate and appointment of the executor
If there is no will, I
- Bring the proceeding for the appointment of an administrator
In either situation, I
- Ascertain what the assets of the estate are and the value of each
- Help you collect the assets
- Ascertain the debts and obligations of the decedent and arrange for you to pay them
- Prepare estate tax returns
- Devise tax strategies
- Consult with the decedent’s accountant on the preparation of the decedent’s personal income tax returns
- Consult with the decedent’s accountant on the preparation of the estate’s fiduciary income tax returns
- Represent you in any necessary court proceedings to resolve issues in the estate
- Some of these proceedings are:
- Asserting ownership of assets
- Construction proceeding to interpret ambiguity in will
- Reformation proceeding to revise will to reflect intent of the testator
- Defending against creditors’ claims
- Spouses asserting their elective share rights
- Wrongful death compromise proceedings
- Some of these proceedings are:
- Prepare your account and help you distribute the estate
- Advise you of all relevant rules of law
I represent trustees, assisting them to administer the trusts they manage. This can involve
- Scrutinizing accounts of executors or administrators of estates that are the source of trust funding
- Advising as to all relevant rules of law
- Documentation of distributions
- Preparation of accounts and helping in distribution of the trust
REPRESENTING PARTIES TO ESTATES OR TRUSTS
I represent parties to estates or trusts in proceedings against the executor or administrator or trustee. Some of these proceedings are listed above. Others can include:
- Compelling payments from trust
- Removing or suspending the executor or administrator or trustee
- Compelling accountings
I am proud to have served as co-chairperson of the New York County Lawyers’ Association Section on Estates, Trusts and Surrogate’s Court practice from 2015-2018 and as chairperson of the New York City Bar Association Small Law Firm Committee’s Trusts and Estates Mentoring Circle from 2015-2018.
I participated in the drafting of Section 2307-a of the New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, which regulates the commissions of attorney-executors.
I am a member of the Trusts and Estates Section of the New York State Bar Association.
I invite you to examine the information presented about estate administration on the Frequently Asked Questions page of this website, and the Glossary of commonly used terms for Estate Administration.
"My mother and I were executors of the estate of her aunt. Among other problems, we had to obtain legal entrance into her house, search for missing relatives, get a bequest to a poorly drafted charitable trust interpreted by the court as an outright bequest, and deal with thorny tax problems. Mark guided us through every aspect of this complicated estate and brought it to a successful close." -Patricia C.
"Mark Hamburgh obtained my appointment as administrator of my brother's estate. He helped me to value and liquidate a large and fragmented portfolio of stocks. He assisted me in selling my brother's coop apartment, a sale that required court intervention to compel the co-owner to cooperate. He worked with my accountant in getting complicated tax filings prepared. He was responsive and honest. I highly recommend him." -Doreen C.